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Thursday’s Rugby News

Thursday’s Rugby News

Thursdays Rugby News sees Reinforcements for the Spring Tour, Cheika backs his selection process, Sam Cane expected to make a full recovery, and the potential end of the June Series.


 

REINFORCEMENTS FOR THE SPRING TOUR

Samu Kerevi stares down Sonny Bill Williams.

Samu Kerevi stares down Sonny Bill Williams.

The Wallabies will give injured players, Samu Kerevi and Tevita Kuridrani, every chance to prove their fitness ahead of selection for the Spring Tour next month.

Neither of them are expected to line up for their respective NRC teams this weekend leaving them little chance to rack up some game time prior to the Wallabies trip to Japan to face the All Blacks.

The Wallabies are hopefully that both players could be available a week later to travel to Europe.

Kerevi was initially expected to miss the remainder of the year with a ruptured bicep that he suffered back in June, but it appears that his rehabilitation has progressed significantly faster than initially thought.

The Reds centre is hoping to make his return to rugby through Brisbane City in the NRC if they qualify for finals with a win over th Canberra Vikings this weekend.

If City fail to make finals then there is a chance Kerevi could get some game time for Souths in the Queensland Premier Rugby 7s competition the following weekend.

Should everything go well for him; there is a chance for Kerevi to link up with the Wallabies in Wales.

Things are not as certain for the Brumbies centre Tevita Kuridrani as they are for Kerevi, after his pectoral injury has sidelined him for the past three months, restricting his involvement in the NRC.

Like Kerevi, Kuridrani needs an NRC win this weekend to increase his chances of getting some game time to push for selection on the Spring Tour.

Another Wallaby who has missed out on the past twelve months has been Jack Dempsey, who has made his NRC return with four matches for the Sydney Rays, including three starts.

It is unknown if Cheika will pick him though, as leaving him in Australia would offer Dempsey the chance to complete a full preseason a head of 2019, giving him the best chance for the World Cup.

Brumbies young gun Rob Valentini is also up for consideration after his recent re-injury of his knee have been cleared.

 

CHEIKA BACKS HIS SELECTION PROCESS

Michael Cheika, Nathan Grey and Mario Ledesma

Michael Cheika, Nathan Grey and Mario Ledesma

Michael Cheika has defended the way he selects his Wallaby squad amidst calls for an independent selector to join his team.

There has been an outcry throughout the Rugby community to adopt the model similar to the All Blacks by having an external voice assist on the selection panel. The All Blacks use Grant Fox on there selection panel, with George Gregan and John Eales names being thrown around for the Wallabies.

Speaking with the team on Kick and Chase though, Cheika claimed that no one has raised the idea with him.

“But what I would say is that I’m not just picking numbers out of a hat.

“I take advice from coaches who have been in the job in the past.

“Last World Cup cycle I had a crew of five or six ex-coaches or players who were involved and helping me with looking at players during the season so that I could get an external view.

“I’m not just blindly taking an internal view.

“I think more often than not I’m making the right calls.”

Cheika will face the Rugby Australia board next week, but it is unlikely that any major changes will occur before the spring tour, given that the Wallabies are expected to fly to Japan the next day.

“Right now we have discussed what we need to change internally,” Cheika said.

“Before you go chopping guys or changing things around you need to understand what we need to change internally to make a difference.

“Maybe what we have been doing before hasn’t achieved the same outcomes.

“We need to look at how you can change – me, other coaches, players, other members of staff as well – can change.

“Give them an opportunity for change to sink in and make a difference.”

Studies in sports coaching have suggested that a midseason change in a coaching staff often lead to an improved performance, similar to the improved Wallaby performance after Cheika took over from McKenzie at the end of the 2014.

Maybe it is time we stop giving him and his team a chance to change and just give the Wallabies a change.

 

CANE EXPECT TO MAKE A FULL RECOVERY

2016-Reds-v-Chiefs-2

All Blacks star Sam Cane believes that if it wasn’t for his ‘strong neck’ then he might not be standing, as he begins the long road to recovery after breaking his neck in Petoria.

Cane suffered the injury to his neck during a tackle on Saturday’s match against the Springboks, which saw the All Blacks narrowly win 32-30.

Cane shared a post to Twitter saying: A few things to be thankful for. Firstly, the circumference and strength of my neck, I may not be standing without it.

“Secondly, the world class medical and surgical team I’ve had here in Pretoria, couldn’t have asked for anything more.

“Thirdly, from all the support I’ve received from family, friends, NZRU, SAR and all the messages from around the world. Really appreciate the messages it means a lot.”

Tony Page, the All Blacks doctors said that Cane’s injury would rule him out for at least three months, but All Blacks head coach Steve Hansen has said they will not rush him back.

Steve Hansen also confirmed to the media that Dane Coles, Joe Moody and Nepo Laulala are all expected to make their return to rugby this weekend in the Mitre 10 competition, with Laulala and Moody even expect to pack down against each other.

If the trio pull up unscathed they would all be a chance to join the All Blacks on the spring tour.

 

JUNE SERIES NO MORE

KMP-G&G-Wallabies-Ireland-7428

It has appeared that with the creation of World Rugby’s “League of Nations” that the June/ July series will most likely cease to exist come 2020.

The League of Nations was a proposed idea by World Rugby to shake up the current format, to liven up the international rugby and to generate greater income. The format would see the top 12 nations play off in a pool format and then the top 4 nations at the end of the year play off for the annual champion.

“The premise is we need to generate more money for the international game and the more meaningful those games are, the more likely they are to generate broadcast revenue so we’re doing an exercise in the viability of a broadcast uplift in those fixtures,” World Rugby CEO Brett Gosper told the Daily Telegraph.

“It just makes sense and it would seem to be the time to do this and there’s a consensus and a desire to try and do that.

“It’s not just Australia, everyone can do with more revenue in this area and the sport deserves to get the value it can get for those fixtures.”

To fit all the matches into this format a new window in July would need to be used for the pool stage, where each team would play three other nations, as opposed to the recent tours like the Irish and English tours.

The format would include the top 6 southern and top 6 northern hemisphere teams and feature a relegation system to drop teams to the second teir. It will also factor into the World Cup selection pools.

The Rugby Championship and the Six Nations will count for competition points with the remaining points scored during the July window. The new format will also not impact the British and Irish Lions tour.

“It’s interesting from a rugby point of view but it’s also regrouping the rights of these international games at one purchase point which in itself creates an uplift in value so all international rugby, including World Cup, including all the November, July, Six Nations, Rugby Championship, all grouped together.” Gosper said.

  • D. Braithwaite’s The Brumbies

    Valetini is 20 and managed about 3 super rugby games and two debilitating injuries. Taking him on tour – if it is anything more than just exposing him to the environment and training – would be stupid and selfish beyond belief.

    Hopefully Kerevi, Kuridrani and Dempsey all go – all three would be huge boons to the Wallabies. Excellent players.

    • The Wobs often take some juniors just to see the environment and not play. There’s a chance Valetini will be in that boat. Mind you, the way Cheika’s “excellent selection policy” works, who fracking knows any more.

      • D. Braithwaite’s The Brumbies

        Yeah, I don’t really have any issue if he’s brought as a development player like Maddocks and Wright was (although I’m not convinced he will learn anything from the Wallabies coaching staff or that the environment will help him much), but I can just fear Cheika making a stupid captain’s call to play him on a whim, and that he gets injured pointlessly playing against England or something.

        • Alister Smith

          Valentini is an 8 or 6 isnt he? that would require Cheika to bench Hooper or Hanigan – don’t think he’ll do that even if he should. And he is also taking Dempsey so i think Valentini will be along for the ride.

        • D. Braithwaite’s The Brumbies

          Yeah, he played 6 this year but with Naisarani gone I think he will realistically be looked at as a number 8 in the future.

          Dempsey is made of glass too, sadly. Could easily be injured first test back…

        • Darrin Briggs

          Where has Naisarani gone?

        • D. Braithwaite’s The Brumbies

          Rebels, so the Brumbies will, I assume, play Pocock at 7, Valetini at 8 and one of McCaffrey or Cusack or Samu at 6 (I am betting on Cusack).

        • Custard Taht

          I am sensing a lack of belief in Ned Hanigan….. You are being offered a chance at Nedemption, please report to Moore Park for Re-Neducation.

        • Alister Smith

          Well I admire his endeavour, he is a real trier and his lineouts were reasonable on the weekend. But personally I am a fan of the more brutal defending, line breaking 6’s who can can also win their lineouts and I think, at this stage of his career and development, Ned only has 1 of those 3. I think he could be a very good player when he matures but I think it might be better if he had the opportunity to learn his trade in Super Rugby first. Anyway, I was perhaps more suggesting that the coach won’t change him rather than offering a negative view on Ned (is that a ned-ative view)although I think we could look at better options.

      • Brisneyland Local

        Come on Eloise. You know you want to drop the F Bomb! ;-)

  • paul

    Be wary of what you wish for, so world rugby creates its own competition to create more wealth and compete with the European club comps.

    Well that will work out well for everyone, just need to sort out which one will become the “oh big evil one”.

    • I don’t mind the idea in principle… but the devil will be in the detail. Six SH sides will presumably be the RC four plus who? Top six NH currently doesn’t include Italy, (Japan is technically the 6th most highly placed NH side, Georgia the 6th most highly placed European side). Japan would make more sense as the fifth SH side and Fiji as the sixth on current rankings, which freezes Tonga out. But if 6N points count it looks like Italy will be in the top flight…

      • D. Braithwaite’s The Brumbies

        To me too Japan is part of the Asia Pacific region and so should be associated with SANZAAR more so than Europe.

        • Bakkies

          SANZAAR should be shut down if Super Rugby does go or get devolved. Last year the RA spent one million dollars on the SANZAAR office what a waste of money.

        • paul

          Its a catch 22, the game in Australia will never grow in popularity while Super rugby exists.

          Yet those in power will never advocate for this, as they are the only ones that benefit from it.

        • D. Braithwaite’s The Brumbies

          Are people in Australia willing to accept that should super rugby die then domestic rugby will become like the A-League – just a development pathway for top Australians to go to Japan and Europe?

        • Bakkies

          Daryl Super Rugby doesn’t make money, has poor commercial structures, is seen as a test trial and five more years of it won’t help. In given how hard fans have voted with their feet fact five more years may see the death knell of some teams. SA have seen the light however the RA are too dim and doing their best to stall the alternative.

        • paul

          And next year half the Wallaby players will be on rest & rotation, explain how do you garner greater fan interest when you’ve just openly said we don’t give a shit about your franchise

        • Bakkies

          Michael Thomson the outgoing Brumbies CEO was not happy with the Wallabies trying to go and rest his players without lead in comments and negotiation.

        • RF

          Agree. Super Rugby was a poorly conceived knee-jerk reaction to rugby going professional. It never made sense. The unfortunate thing is that due to wider mis-management of the game, RA is reliant on the crumbs from South Africa’s table (which isn’t going to last long) and is limited in its ability to manoeuvre.

        • D. Braithwaite’s The Brumbies

          Where’s the evidence that Super Rugby doesn’t make money? That goes against everything that I’ve ever read or heard, and all that was said about the latest TV deal.

        • RF

          If Super Rugby died it would be replaced with something else though.

          The Irish seem to be doing ok. A much smaller population than Australia and rugby in a similarly competitive landscape (if not more so) and their clubs play in a competition with far less appeal than a conceptual Tasman Tournament (which would be inevitable in the event of the collapse of Super Rugby). Despite this, they manage to keep all of their top talent in Ireland.

        • D. Braithwaite’s The Brumbies

          It would be replaced with a domestic comp; or if we’re very lucky, a trans-Tasman comp; or if we’re very, very lucky then trans-Tasman + Japan. Unless Japan is involved there is no way on planet earth that we will generate enough revenue to keep top players at home.

          The difference with Ireland is two-fold. First, there are specific tax laws in Ireland that incentivise professional sports players staying in Ireland for extended periods of time. Second, Ireland gets European Cup revenue.

        • Bakkies

          Due to the deals that PRL did on behalf of everyone else no one knows how the European tv pot is split.

          The 6 Nations is the financial bread and butter.

        • D. Braithwaite’s The Brumbies

          I’m still presuming that the competition that is the most watched club rugby competition on the planet, and which sells out stadiums fairly consistently, contributes significantly to Ireland’s revenue…

          Yes, obviously, which is why South Africa would be crazy not to head north and fully integrate into Europe.

        • RF

          Of course it contributes significantly to Ireland’s revenue, I don’t see how that point defeats the argument though.

          If New Zealand and Australian sides were in a proper tournament I expect its viewing figures (in ground and on tv) would be strong. And Australian sides would be complimenting domestic derbies with games agains the best sides in the world.

        • D. Braithwaite’s The Brumbies

          We had that since Super Rugby was first invented, and the sport’s appeal hasn’t raised significantly though. All I can see happening is that revenue levels would fall of a cliff, lots of top Australian and Kiwi players will go north and our teams will be NRC level, if that.

          I’m not necessarily against this but I think it needs to be explained to the public that it is likely to happen. It’s just basic economics.

        • RF

          It’s not basic economics though if you are operating under a narrow set of assumptions.

          South African TV revenue would go and it would be (initially) replaced with a smaller deal. That is a negative, of course. With poor planning and execution if none of this would come to pass then the outline would be bleak as you outline. My glass is half full though and as Super Rugby is toast anyway we should be planning for it.

          The flip side is that revenue from match days would increase substantially if you had a structurally coherent competition with more than 8 home games per year. This leads to many direct and indirect financial gains and has strong potential for reversing the trend with attendances too. This results in a product with appeal for sponsors and broadcast. Global interest in this competition (minus South Africa) would remain high.

          You also have potential to run side competitions as they do in Europe. It is not beyond the realms of possibility that participation in the Heineken Cup knockout stages could even be considered by decreasing the European group stage pool size and increasing the number of pools which would free up the required match weekends.

        • Bakkies

          Agreed an alternative has to be sought. The game has lost the support it has gained and now back to the diehards. The only problem is that the diehards are now over 20 years older.

        • D. Braithwaite’s The Brumbies

          These days most rugby competitions earn most of their revenue from TV deals (even in place like England and France crowds aren’t fantastic except for European cup games).

          You’re hoping for a fringe sport in a relatively small (23 million) and already overcrowded market to compete with Europe and Japan. It isn’t realistic. We’d almost certainly lose a lot or even most of our top players overseas. Even those who stayed would be playing in a lower level of competition and less prepared for internationals.

        • RF

          I disagree that it is unrealistic, we are doing it at the moment while hamstrung with Super Rugby.

          Smaller countries in more competitive landscapes are doing ok. Of course we can do ok too.

        • D. Braithwaite’s The Brumbies

          The only smaller markets doing okay are in big international compeitions to compensate for their small markets (Wales, Ireland, Scotland, New Zealand)…

        • RF

          And we would need to have competitions in place to make pro rugby viable too.

          The Heineken Cup isn’t the biggest cash cow in Europe and doesn’t compare to the domestic leagues in France or England, it is dwarfed by comparison. Yet the big sides in those leagues compete at the highest level because they are part of a good model imposed from the top down (French and English clubs are not). We have an opportunity to do something similar.

          Europe’s best team have one of the most star-studded rugby sides in the world and probably the strongest academy system in the world right now. They can’t quite offer the same money as teams in other leagues but compensate for this by allowing players to play at home and careful performance management from the national union. It’s a harder thing to achieve in a country with a poor climate on the doorstep of England and France than it would be in Australia.

          We will never be competing on the global market for the biggest stars from other countries, but like Ireland and Wales there is a lot we can do to develop and retain our own talent to the same extent as they do.

          The question is if RA is up to it

        • RF

          To add to this, far too much is being made of us not being able to live without Super Rugby because of the TV revenue from South Africa, and that is the biggest stumbling block.

          In the last 2 years Australian sides have had 7 or 8 home games per year. The Waratahs matchday revenue in 2017 (a poor year) was $5.9m. This was from 7 games and the figure excludes sponsorships etc, and notably was a year without a home fixture against the Reds.

          A properly structured competition would have significantly more home games per year, but let’s say conservatively that you play 12 home games. All things being equal, that would have increased matchday revenue in 2017 by $4.2m. 14 games would be by $5.9m

          This excludes additional revenue from sponsorship etc, and it doesn’t take into account a game against the biggest rival, any bounce in attendances at commercial appeal from being in a better competition either.

          We can live without South African revenue. Wouldn’t be easy but it is is doable.

        • D. Braithwaite’s The Brumbies

          The Heineken Cup isn’t dwarfed by the domestic leagues of England and France on a per match basis though… One match in the Heineken Cup generates incomparably more viewers than a regular domestic match.

        • RF

          I am talking in terms of finances and it is dwarfed by the revenue generated by the Premiership and the Top 14.

          Average attendances in the competition are roughly the same (about 14k per match). I don’t believe that TV viewing figures are available but as the Heineken Cup is broadcast in more countries, and by multiple channels in these countries, I assume the figures are higher.

        • D. Braithwaite’s The Brumbies

          Yeah, but Australia can’t be compared to England or France – we don’t have 12+ professional teams and 50 million people. We’re comparable markets to Ireland and Wales, who generate their revenue from the Pro14 (an international competition – like super rugby) and the Heineken Cup.

          I’m not against leaving super rugby necessarily, but people like you also need to be honest about what it would mean about giving up revenue – we’d be a development comp for the north for the foreseeable future.

        • RF

          I notice that you never accept any of my points while I do with your posts. I fully concede that if South Africa left and we just continued as-is that we would face disaster, however that is not a prudent approach.

          The Pro14 is not (yet) a big revenue driver for Irish rugby. The fortunes of the test side drive the finances, and European success does too. There is absolutely no reason why Australian rugby can’t compete with the likes of Ireland and Wales. We would be operating in a similar structure to them, focussing on developing and retaining talent, which is a more affordable model than in England and France and the Galactico approach.

          Australian sides need a viable competition to replace Super Rugby obviously, and that would need the involvement of New Zealand. I have not ignored this fact, or the revenue drop from losing South African television deals. However, you cannot ignore new revenue streams from a new competition/competitions. Putting all of our eggs in the NRC basket will result in your scenario.

          If we are to build a viable competition, which is the big IF, based on the last available finances from the Waratahs (2017, a poor year in every respect) any loss of South African TV revenue can be overcome. This would be compensated by having a reasonable number of match weekends. (If they played 12 games in 2017 the match-day revenue would have increased by $4.2m, 14 by $5.9m, excluding associated direct and indirect revenue tied to sponsorships etc)

          This is based a conservative take based on financial records in the public domain. It doesn’t take into account any growth potential which would surely exist, or replacement TV deals.

          Nothing would be easy but the gloomy outlook is overly pessimistic in my view. Replacing South African money isn’t the problem, the problem is the structure of a new competition.

        • paul

          Yet strangely enough this little country manages to produce 2 sports with TV deals that match much of what is on offer in Europe.

          So lets just keep doing the same and hoping for a different result

        • D. Braithwaite’s The Brumbies

          The NRL doesn’t match European rugby salaries, and not for nearly the same number of players. Even the AFL, I believe, isn’t close to matching European rugby salaries.

        • Charcoal

          Agree entirely RF. What have we got to lose? In spite of the revenue RA receives from the Super Rugby broadcast deal, the game in Australia is going backwards, so what’s the point of it? Others opposed to Australia dropping out of Super Rugby and replacing it with a fully domestic or Trans Tasman competition don’t seem to get this. They want to continue blinding doing the same thing, hoping to get a different result.

          The Australian sporting public have turned their backs on it and walked away, so if the code wants to remain relevant in this country, it has to take some risks and try a different tack. That’s a domestic or Trans Tasman competition in time friendly zones. Including a Japanese team is an option, although I’d prefer it is strictly based in the Southern Hemisphere, avoiding playing games out of season. If the Kiwis aren’t interested then we should go it alone, using the NRC as the basis for a new fully professional competition.

          There are options for an end of season Champions League between the top teams in the domestic competitions in Aus, NZ and SA, or even including Argentina, which has been mentioned numerous times previously. It wouldn’t affect the 4 Nations Southern Hemisphere Rugby Championship which should continue.

          Critics of a domestic or Trans Tasman competition like to point to the loss of revenue from a broadcasting deal without South Africa’s involvement, which to some extent is true. However, what they fail to acknowledge is that it would be in time friendly zones, having significantly lower costs, without teams flying half way around the world. In the Australian context, it would reinvigorate interest in Rugby domestically, which in turn would lead to higher broadcast revenue in the future. RA has to have the balls to insist that it has a FTA component, even if for replays.

        • Bakkies

          Daryl the competition is costing more to run than what it generates in revenue so no it isn’t making money. The competition is too reliant on tv money from the same broadcasters who have got it unopposed in the three main markets. Last time around they got an increase due to competition in Europe.

          Individual unions are left up to their own devices in regards to commercial deals whereas in Europe it is a collective.

        • D. Braithwaite’s The Brumbies

          I’m not saying you’re lying, but do you have links to any reports that I can read through in order to fact check the claim that it loses money, because I do find it quite difficult to believe. I’d be very interested to read any reports that proved that.

        • Bakkies

          Just look through the annual reports, comments from SARU and god forbid the RA executives. They have known this years but went for an expansion that was going to cost them more money. If it wasn’t for the test rights in the same deal the comp would cost even more to run.

          The rights should have been split years ago to give countries an opportunity to sell games to other tv networks.

          Paul Cully hits the nail on the head about the addiction to tv money not generating enough revenue to meet expenses.

          https://www.smh.com.au/sport/rugby-union/rugby-australia-as-top-heavy-as-they-come-and-the-gamble-is-falling-flat-20180413-p4z9es.html

          If it was making money there wouldn’t be stories going around about alternatives and canning it.

        • RF

          “Unless Japan is involved there is no way on planet earth that we will generate enough revenue to keep top players at home.”

          I don’t see why not. A Tasman competition would have huge marketing potential.

          As for European Cup revenue, you don’t need to get too creative to think of complimentary competitions to a bread-and-butter league

          The Irish tax refund after 10 consecutive years is of course a part of the financial appeal for players to stay there but it is all relative. Also what would be on players minds is the performance management which prolongs careers, which you don’t get in England or France.

          This should all be moot anyway, Super Rugby is on its last legs and will go. The question is how we will react to this. I fear we will prolong the competition longer first though by making it more obscure and involving even more diverse sides.

        • D. Braithwaite’s The Brumbies

          New Zealand’s population is 4.6 million and the number of Australians who follow rugby are, what, 1 million or less?

          It isn’t comparable to Europe. The Saffas have always contributed the most to Super Rugby revenue. We just don’t have the market sizes to compete with countries like England or France (with 50 million+ people).

        • RF

          New Zealand’s population is small, that’s a reality we have to deal with. On the flip-side their population follows the game like a religion and their product is the best in the world.

          Australia’s population with interest in the game is small and has dwindled largely as a result of neglect (which our involvement in Super Rugby is a symptom of).

          South Africa contributed most to Super Rugby revenue, but that will end and we need to plan for it. I wouldn’t see it as doom and gloom at all, I think that our future is exciting.

        • Ed

          The broadcast income from a trans-Tasman comp will not replace the SR dollars.
          First, our comp would be played in poor viewing times in SA/Europe. Good times for us but not so for the big dollars.
          When an Oz SR derby went up against an AFL or NRL match on Fox, the audience was typically a 1/4 to a 1/3 of the other two codes.
          If/when we leave SR, there will be a loss of more of our top players as we will not be able to afford to pay them what they can get.

        • paul

          Well you need to ask how we got in that situation first.
          exactly what has been the cost of those SR dollars

        • Bakkies

          Despite it potentially putting them out of business.

          This article shows that by further delaying Twiggy the Clown College don’t want a side in Western Sydney as it will show them up for being useless.

          https://www.smh.com.au/national/time-running-out-to-see-if-twiggy-forrest-can-ruck-and-roll-20181010-p508wk.html

      • Bakkies

        Don’t like the idea at all. There will be less tier one v tier two matches in a closed shop, tier two nations already play each other in competitions and doesn’t factor in the Lions.

        • Alister Smith

          They say the Lions will continue (but not sure how?)

        • Bakkies

          Exactly and the Lions Agreement hasn’t been negotiated yet. A pointless tournament like this will never see Argentina added to the tour rota.

        • paul

          Its a massive bloody cash grab by a huge bureaucratic organization like world rugby to compete with club rugby, but without addressing any of the fundamental reasons of why those club competitions are the ones driving the bus.

        • Bakkies

          Cash grab from where exactly?

        • It says it will allow for the Lions. I agree about the tier 1 v tier 2 matches though, although the top 6 in both hemispheres will allow for that, and “churn” with relegation and promotion will get some.

          I think we need more details though.

    • Brumby Runner

      Isn’t that already the ABs? though I’m not sure of the context of your comment.

  • Alister Smith

    Good news for the Reds with the signing of Peter Ryan as defence coach. Thorn is assembling a pretty decent coaching staff now with himself, Mackay and Ryan. Not sure who is doing conditioning.

    • Tom Galbraith

      Brynley Abad was the S&C man this season, I expect he was signed for more than 12 months.

  • So there’s nothing wrong with Cheika’s coaching staff and selection process? Right…

    • Ed

      I did not see Fux Kick n Chase last night but have heard his interview with the Foxsports online fellas.

      https://player.whooshkaa.com/episode?id=285138

      What a missed opportunity to ask about the change in tactics between the first and second halves last weekend? Was the second half a possible future of playing a bit more direct instead of the wing it wide from the start? Of course, the improvement was all about attitude and defence blah blah blah.

      Some of his thoughts from this interview:
      “…What I will say is these guys are working hard, they’re real Aussies, Australian fans as well as coaches. They’re giving their all to get the best possible outcome, they’re very loyal to the people in the team….

      For everyone shooting at them, they’re good guys who are doing their absolutely best to represent Australia in the correct way.”

      Asked if this year has been the most challenging or the stuff he likes:
      “Yeah, you always want to be winning. I feel I sort of like this situation, I think I can do well in these situations when it is tough because I have said many times ‘the tough situations come and go, but the tough people don’t. I’d like to think that is who I am, who we are and that we prevail over it.”

      In the interview it reinforces a view that Cheika’s main aim as a coach is the psychological side of the game.

      • Greg

        I have no doubt people are working hard.

        You can’t succeed without perspiration but in itself it is not enough,

      • Brumby Runner

        To his credit, Marto did ask Cheika if he changed the tactics and game plan at half time. Cheika said no, to which Marto asked, innocently, then was it just the players who decided to play to a different plan?

        Marto had to go back into his shell after that little bit of sarcasm that didn’t sit well with Cheika.

        • Ed

          Thanks BR.
          Why are they frightened of him? That MC will banish them from the inner-sanctum?

        • John Miller

          Yep. For ex-players / journalists – no access, no interviews, no after game back slappin’ knees up with Cheik’s and his chosen few. For players – no selection. “Right, you’re Fardy-ed”.

      • If they’re doing their absolute best, then either Aussie rugby has a serious problem and isn’t producing test quality players any longer, Cheika isn’t selecting the right players, or he’s not implementing a game plan to let them play well, or some combination of the these.

    • Kiwi rugby lover

      Hahahahaha absolutely he said so

    • Sequel

      What you see on the weekend shows Cheika’s strength as a coach. He is a man manager he’s the rev up guy, all heart and soul and its fantastic. See the way the team responded to his empassioned half time rev. Again I say brilliant.

      HOWEVER, this only works up to a point and it clearly does not work consistently and for 80 minutes in a test match.

      Cheika appears very limited technically and with game plan at test level. Combine that with the poor execution skills means there is no consistancy. Either that or the game plan he is running with is not consistent with the skills of the team he picks.

      Either way it is not working and the buck needs to stop at the head coach.

      • John Miller

        Zero consistency over 80 minutes – or a series – or a season – or 5 seasons.

        We are now talking about the least successful Australian rugby coach of the professional era who has enjoyed an unaccountable, unprecedented free pass from a normally cut-throat Sydney-based mainstream sports media that summarily fails to represent the broad consensus of rugby supporters in this country. Oh how Eddie or Robbie or Ewan would have enjoyed such myopic generosity.

        Since the last world cup, the bloke has a 42% win rate. And he still has a job. This season that is 33% with an All Blacks test looming. Still breathing somehow.

        “I think more often than not I’m making the right calls.”

        And the arcane, partisan Cheika circus rolls blindly on, untroubled by the trivial necessity for performance, or its resultant consequence. Has elite rugby union in Australia ever felt so detached from its paying support base?

        • Ed

          Tom Decent referred to online critics last year, probably here and at the other side, as “keyboard warriors” in an article. Maybe many of us watch a different game to the Sydney based MSM of the code, and we don’t like what we see.

        • John Miller

          GAGR and it’s ilk are wholly inconvenient thought dysrupters for the antiquated, change-resistant, creaking broadsheet publication, propaganda warriors who, for decades, have blatantly dictated the sporting narrative pursuant to their own parochial interests and biases – and without the inconvenience of immediate, unfiltered feedback.

          Even their own token attempt to display some acknowledgement of the digital age – the online feedback capability – is edited to the edge of embarrassment. Cully, Robinson and Decent barely have comments open to start with. And with a readership this vast, the rugby public is apparently expected to believe that only 1 or 2 – if we’re lucky half a dozen – rugby supporters provided online feedback that met SMH’s own stated guidelines (and perhaps then, only a day after the original article was published). Just see the comments section of a political or popular culture story from the same publication to note the ignorant and embarrassing comment cull that has ensued.

          Decent’s comment smacks of the beholden elitism that curses this great game in Australia and cripples any hint of progress.

        • There’s a difference between being a “keyboard warrior” and honestly believing “I could do better” – I couldn’t, I honestly don’t have the experience to be a rugby coach, let alone an international head coach – and being an intelligent fan who has watched the game for 40+ years, has an understanding of the game from watching hundreds if not thousands of matches and levelling reasonable criticism. Heck, if you check back through my posts I’ve even suggested a number of names of potential replacements for Cheika, people who are likely to be qualified for the job and available. Possibly not willing though.

          The number of errors we see from the Wobs – basic things like dropped balls, poor kicks, missed tackles and so on. That leads to things like a terrible rate of scoring tries, the explosion in the second half at Salta notwithstanding. Then there’s the slide to 7th in the world rankings.

          These aren’t figments of my imagination as a “keyboard warrior” they’re simple, direct observations that you can back up with hard statistics.

          If you want a simple, direct comparison, albeit a crude one, last year the Wobs and the Boks were inseparable results wise. Two draws, two losses to the AB, two wins over Los Pumas. Similar try counts for and against too. A bonus point here and there was the difference. This year, they both had home wins against each other… ok. The Boks scored the same number of points as the AB across their two matches as each scored an away win and beat Los Pumas twice. We all know what happened to the Wobs against the AB and Argentina. It’s pretty hard to argue that the Boks against the Boks showing improvement. It’s equally hard to argue against the Wobs going backwards… (For the record, even with Salta, Australia ended up with 16 tries across 6 tests, that’s 2.67 tries per match. The average from all four teams was 3.66 tries per match – they’re a whole try per match below that.)

          Suggesting there’s a problem when you can do some really simple sums like that is not being a “keyboard warrior” it’s observing the game. Saying someone needs to be held to account… is that really being a keyboard warrior?

        • Who?

          I think the Bokke lost in Argentina this year… But otherwise completely agree with your point.
          To the keyboard warrior/”I could do better” point, I think the difference between “anger keyboard warriors” and where we are now is that whilst “keyboard warriors” always believe they could do better, we’re now at a point where people with enough humility to think they aren’t up to the job could do better. And a big part of the reason why those people who acknowledge they’re not good enough now think they could do better is that they’re both intelligent and humble enough to know their own limitations. Whilst they can see the current coach is beyond his limitations and skillset.

        • Sorry, you’re right, they had that hideous performance didn’t they?

        • Hit reply too soon.

          I think you might be right about the rest too. There’s a change from the “OMFG we lost a test match, everyone must go, I could do better than that muppet” to “Hang on, we’ve had a long, bad run, something must change” type of response.

      • There is only one side I’ve seen, honestly in any international sport although I don’t watch a huge variety being a rugby woman through and through, that can play badly for a half and still win on a consistent basis. They play in a much darker hue than green and gold.

        It just amazes me that someone at his level in this job can have such an apparent lack of self-awareness. But I whole-heartedly agree, it’s not working and the buck needs to stop on his desk.

    • Custard Taht

      That is correct….if you have any doubts just ask him. The results since the RWC are not a reflection of his coaching, selections and staff. It is all about the INTENT or lack of, from the players.

      Now, the players have found their INTENT, just ask them, Foley said so, Hooper said so, the only way is up.

      If you ask Cheika about the INTENT from the players, he will tell you they are now training the house down. Forget about the INTENT during the last 3 seasons of matches, cause we talkin bout practice.

      Forget about the missed tackles, we talkin bout practice.
      Forget about the dropped balls and poor general play kicking, we talkin bout practice.
      Forget the passes to nobody or passes hitting players in the head, we talkin bout practice.
      Forget the lineout shambles and flat footed forwards getting driven backwards, cause we talkin bout practice.

      For all the non-disciples, stop fixating on the results they will come, we are learning our lessons, going through our processes, backing each other and trusting in our ability; Man, cause we talking bout practice.

      • Kiwi rugby lover

        Gold

      • Huw Tindall

        Mate I think you missed the part about intent. It’s the key. ;)

      • Ah, that’s what’s wrong. I thought they were playing on a pitch. They thought they were playing in tents.

  • Alister Smith

    Good news for the Reds with the signing of Peter Ryan as defence coach. Thorn is assembling a pretty decent coaching staff now with himself, Mackay and Ryan.

    • disqus_NMX

      They’re gonna need it for when they come up against the Rebels next year ;)

  • Nutta

    I watched last night with great anticipation. I don’t know why. I’m smarter then that. But maybe it’s the boy still buried somewhere inside me desperately hoping for something…

    What a waste of 15min of my life I won’t be getting back.

    Checks demonstrated the 5 rules of dodgeball = dodge, dip, dive, duck, and dodge. He threw enough colloquialisms and spoke just broadly enough to say not much at all other than ‘Yeh, I think I’m doing alright.’ Seriously though, what else was the guy going to say?

    Castle made it all clearly Cheks fault – What does he want? What does he need? Absolutely nothing on participation, development pathways to deepen the pool, western Sydney, clear pathways, NRC>Super>national alignment, Twiggy-ball expansion highlighting the minimalistic internalism of the current myopic set-up, centralisation etc etc. Complete abrogation of accountabilities. but again, why did I expect otherwise?

    Marto had a half-hearted attempt to call Cheks out to make some clear statements but Cheks flexed and bristled a bit and Marto retreated.

    Mitchell may well have simply been on his knees protecting his position in the inner sanctum.

    I get it. I’ve worked it out. I’m the idiot. They all know what they’re doing. I never played at that level. I have no right to comment. I should just remember my place, shut the fk up and finance their lifestyles in silence.

    • D. Braithwaite’s The Brumbies

      To be fair the structural problems with Australian rugby have existed for a long time, by the immediate decline in the performances of the Wallabies and super rugby teams are the result of coaching (for both the latter and the former) and the player drain (affected super rugby more).

      The immediate issues with the Wallabies are the immediate responsibility of the coaching staff and the players.

      • Nutta

        Your comments are correct: structural issues are decades old now, decline in results is in context of that (always been the same but got results nonetheless) and so that is under the current coaches etc. It’s Cheks ball to deal with the here & now. And whilst a lot isn’t, a lot IS his to own (as leader of his administration).

        That said he can only work with what he’s got. And whilst Supers do their own thing (not the shot about getting unprepared players for tests), there aren’t that many in the first place (drain) and the simple fact we are not producing the base numbers from which talent is to flow (geography, opportunity, penetration creating a steady stream of cattle) then it’s a Sisyphean task (waste of fkn time). That sits 100% on the CEO – not that we are there now as that isn’t her fault, but certainly what are we doing to change it.

        • Habitual Offender

          Thought I had Sisyphus once, turned out to be just kidney stones

        • Nutta

          Boom Tish!

      • Huw Tindall

        I think people forget that Cheik has gone out of his remit to encourage pathways too. It’s only off his bat that they’ve had sessions with super players and coaches throughout the year and made the Wallabies camp in West Sydney for a Sydney test and so on. The whole system isn’t his job so he is swimming against the current so to speak. In saying all that i’m critical of his actual job. Mainly for being too loyal and employing Grey and Larkham and worse, persisting! I can leave with a couple of weird selections like Hanigan but not coaching and tactics void.

        • Who?

          The points about trying to engage with super players and coaches, and that being beyond his remit… Is it? Is it really? Or is it just him trying to make sure he has the best possible options when he goes to select his squad? I remember reading that every Aussie Super player had a copy of the Wallaby play book when Macqueen was coach. He was engaging with the coaches. So it’s not a new thing. And he’s been around long enough now that there’s no excuse not to have a relationship with all the Super coaches. Fair enough not to have those connections in your first year, but at the end of your fourth year…
          I don’t think that what’s being discussed is really anything out of the ordinary.

    • Alister Smith

      “minimalistic internalism of the current myopic set-up”…F*&k! where did I leave that dictionary.

      • Nutta

        I threw in Sisyphus just for you – seeing as you had a dictionary and all.

        • Alister Smith

          I actually know Sisyphus I think something about rolling a stone up a hill or something?

        • Nutta

          Bingo. Rolls ‘em up, a bunch of Philistines run out and attack him, while he’s fighting them the stone rolls back down the hill. Eat sleep rave repeat for eternity…

        • Alister Smith

          Definitely sounds like being a Wallabies fan

    • Ed

      Nutta, I have the same feelings about the online Foxsports interview I have posted below in reply to Eloise.
      If Cheika is doing the media rounds, expect a fawning interview with either Gerrob or Decent in the SMH soon too.

    • Kiwi rugby lover

      Maaaaate.

      Breathe………. release…….. breathe……….

      No you are absolutely correct. I certainly didn’t expect anything different as I’d gathered that Cheika would resist any “interference” from the HQ on his team. To be fair I am sort of his side. He’s the coach, if what he is doing is wrong then they should sack him and move on, but to say he’s the coach and then limit his selections, tactics (he hasn’t got any) and have someone else dictate any of this is completely wrong. All it does is give him the excuse of blaming others for anything that goes wrong.

    • Damo

      When a member of parliament asks a friendly, non adversarial question of one of his own party ministers on the floor, it’s traditionally known as a Dorothy Dixer. Well Dorothy was busy on Kick and Chase last night. Starting with absenting the usual panel members (Gregan, Kearnsie & co) who had last week been fairly critical of the Wallabies recent performances, coaching etc, What was that about?
      Cheers to Marto for at least having a crack.
      You have to think the Wallabies coach agreed to appear with conditions attached. Including maybe writing the questions.
      You’re right Nutta, a complete waste of our time. I believe he was really trying to tell us the 2nd half against the Argies was some kind of turning point for the team but really dodged answering what the hell was going on in the 1st 40.

      • Nutta

        If it was a turning point then the next question from any semi-competent interviewer would have been about how/why we spent the last 2.5yrs getting here.

      • Brumby Runner

        True, but the way I read it, the team is responsible, not Cheika, for learning from it and replicating that form in future.

    • Kokonutcreme

      Nutta

      The structural obstacles and disconnections within Australian rugby are well documented. There are certainly areas that Cheika has no control over outside the Wallaby team.

      All things being equal however the one question I would have asked Cheika on the show last night is “What has changed from last years RC and the Irish series to this years RC?”

      Think back to August, there was a very real surge in belief about the Wallabies prospects that was based on performance and not faith and hope.

      – A highly competitive test series against the 2nd ranked team in the world that went down to the wire and could have been won.
      – All teams bar the Reds breaking the drought against Kiwi teams in Super rugby
      – The Waratahs qualifying for the finals

      These were all tangible signs of improvement and expectations on both sides of the ditch was for a more competitive Bledisloe Cup series. The fall from grace was so swift and unexpected I can understand the hurt and disillusionment felt by fans

      What happened?
      Why did it happen?
      What is being done to ensure it doesn’t repeat?

      We all accept players are putting in the effort and trying their best but they were also doing that last year and almost pulled off a historic win in NZ and beat them in Brisbane. They were also scoring tries more frequently and proving a real handful for opposition defences.

      Cheika shouldn’t forget that last year this was all off the back of the worst record in Super rugby history by Aussie teams. Surely what we’re seeing from the team this year would have been expected last year? Surely after the improvements we witnessed in Super rugby and against the Irish this year its natural to expect better performances if not results?

      On the Fox Sports podcast Cheika mentions that the lack of confidence in Australian rugby is the most glaring issue he noticed when he returned in 2013. Yet there’s been no evidence of Australian rugby employing mental skills coaches, sports psychologists to assist players. An infamous halftime rant is the best you’ve got?

      Forcing another voice on to Cheika’s staff may be the best or worst decision. My only point of reference is when the NZRU forced Grizz Wyllie to partner with his long time rival John Hart for the RWC and we all know how that turned out.

      Certainly in recent times Robbie Deans didn’t appreciate having to work alongside David Nucifora who was clearly gunning for his job.

      Kick and Chase, well named the ball is still some way off in the distance.

  • Alister Smith

    From the article I think Ryan has left the Brumbies for the Reds so not sure how that will effect them. Whilst ever Laurie Fischer is there I wouldn’t be too worried. The Rebels had Kevin Foote and Shaun Berne previously.

    • D. Braithwaite’s The Brumbies

      I could be misremembering but I thinking McKellar ran the defence under Larkham, and it was one of the best in the competition every year (helped by having guys liked Fardy, to be fair), so between him and Gandalf I’m fairly optimistic.

    • Sequel

      Yes, I think Tony McGahan is also set to be Academy Head Coach.

  • Kiwi rugby lover

    Thanks Dylan, glad to see Cane looks like he will make a full recovery as I think we’ll need him next year. Savea is good and the opportunity to bring on someone else is pretty cool but he’s still the best for the AB game plan.

    I hope the two K’s recover well and it would be good to see them on the EOYT but to be honest if they miss this and are fully fighting fit next year I’d be happy with that. Personally I’m not expecting much at the end of this year so not really up whether they make it or not.

    I just don’t get Cheika. I was pretty sure he’d not take any oversight well and it looks as though I was correct. At least it makes interesting news I suppose.

    Personally I think the League of Nations concept is a bit flawed although if they get it right it should be quite good. I am concerned it will devalue the RWC a bit but I think, despite what is said, devaluing the RWC and taking power back from the Northern clubs is behind this a bit. Maybe more of the second but I’m sure that the 6 nations being the competition for the 5th best team after the last RWC didn’t go down well with the NH and they are looking for something to regain their power.

  • disqus_NMX

    Sam Cane believes that if it wasn’t for his ‘strong neck’ and ‘massive cock’ then he might not be standing, lol :D

    • Kiwi rugby lover

      Mind in the gutter :-)

      • disqus_NMX

        Nah, just taking the piss.

  • RF

    Strongly opposed to the League of Nations concept.

    Bringing back traditional ideas of a NH nation touring a SH nation, like Ireland this year, brought so much more meaning to a June series. That should be the model, not something that can undermine the game’s blue ribbon competition.

  • The Jackal

    So Fox have the Bledisloe III Test in Japan but then aren’t showing any of the Spring Tour games and BEIN Sports or ESPN don’t seem to have anything to suggest that they are showing it this year?? How good is not only not being on free to air tv in this country but also not even on pay tv anymore. Surely someone picks up the England game at a minimum maybe SBS again.

    • John Miller

      Surely this can’t be right. Neither FTA or PayTV showing the Wallabies Northern Tour?

  • Adrian

    Thanks Dylan

    Good write up

    Yes, Cheika is scrambling to make “internal” adjustments before anything is forced upon him.

    He’ll probably tinker inside the tent…and some of the things may have substance.

    I’d say he’s already had the rocket put up him by Castle, and he’s trying to save face.

    His straight out rejection of the extra selector idea publicly proposed by Castle suggests that either he is telling her to get fucked, or behind the scenes he is on the blower to his mentors,… Consulting others is something (IMO) he hasn’t actually done before,… despite him saying something about 6 or 7 blokes in the last WC cycle….bla bla bla!

    Castle is no fool, and she’ll let him do that so long as something changes. She didn’t make the “lipstick on the proverbial” comment for nothing!

    The guys he does actually know, apart from Dwyer, aren’t the main media suspects, and include OS coaches and Glen Ella with whom he has a love hate relationship.

  • Bakkies

    Well here we go just we thought would happen.

    The RA block western Sydney entry to WSR till 2021. So Andrew Hore what do you plan on doing for the next three years while clubs are struggling out west and your mates have blocked a potential pathway?

    I am more on board the Papworth, Dwyer and Jones train now as we may not have three years to sort this out.

    https://www.canberratimes.com.au/sport/rugby-union/australia-new-zealand-say-not-now-to-world-series-rugby-20181011-p508zc.html

    • Brumby Runner

      Come 2020, you can just bet that there will be other very good reasons to delay a WS team for WSR again. And so on, and so on.

    • Habitual Offender

      For some reason I expected no better…

    • RF

      I’d be leaning towards taking the reasons why at face value, there is not enough time to get a pro team up and running for it.

      Western Sydney should have a team but it should be done properly. Hopefully it will be founded long in advance of a Tasman Competition

      • Bakkies

        Nah the RA have road blocked this for months putting up a ‘working’ Committee and talking bollocks in the press about all in the detail.

        They need to be overthrown and fast before the game is truly skint.

  • Silver Ghost

    Thanks Dylan and another good report.

    Although for journalistic reasons I appreciate you’ve got to report things that Cheika says, but like I mentioned yesterday, I would love to see a Head Line, followed with “Cheika blah, blah blah, on Kick and Chase, same shit as always, blah, blah, blah nothing substantial to report”

    We are all so sick of Cheika and his inane crap and the stupid Dorothy Dixers that his pals on Foxtel serve up to him.
    Perhaps, he’s so-called consultation with others, are the guys on Kick and Chase!!!!

  • Dave P

    don’t bend over and pick it up in front of RA?

  • Bernie Chan

    Fuxsport reporting that the TAHs are interested in signing AAC…and that he is a RWC contender. Seriously…?

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@DylanGLanges

Once captained the 3rds Rugby team, but then again so did Nick Farr-Jones

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